President Biden highlights efforts to fight cancer on 60th anniversary of JFK’s ‘moonshot’ speech

BOSTON — On the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s moonshot speech, President Joe Biden traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, to share the Biden Administration’s plans to fight cancer.

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According to The Associated Press, Biden spoke at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Monday to share the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals and plans for fighting cancer.

“When President Kennedy delivered his Moonshot speech, the United States had the building blocks to know what was possible. However, there were major scientific and societal advances that needed to happen. As a nation, we needed to fully commit to a future in which traveling to the moon was possible – and we did just that,” said the White House in a news release.

Biden is hoping to move the United States closer to a goal he set in February by cutting cancer deaths by 50% over the next 25 years and going on to improve the lives of caregivers and patients, according to the AP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention per the AP, ranked cancer the second-highest killer in the country, behind heart disease.

According to the American Cancer Society per the AP, about 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and over 609,000 will die of cancer in 2022.

Biden also announced the signing of an executive order to launch a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, according to the White House. It will help develop biotechnologies and other innovations in the process.

This initiative will grow the strength and diversity of domestic biomanufacturing capacity, expand market opportunities for bio-based products through the federal programs, drive research and development across all relevant agencies, streamline and harmonize appropriate regulation, and prioritize investments in applied biosafety research in biosecurity to reduce risk throughout research and development lifecycles. This initiative is rooted in the principles of equity, ethics, safety, and security that will help benefit all Americans and the global community, and maintain the United States technological leadership and economic competitiveness,” said the White House in the news release.

According to the AP, Biden announced Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the inaugural director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) that will work on studying treatments and possible cures for cancers, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases.

Biden also announced the launch of the Cancer Cabinet. The White House said in July 2022 that the Cancer Cabinet outlined its goals, which include closing the screening gap, understanding and addressing environmental exposure, decreasing any impacts of preventable cancer, cutting-edge research and supporting caregivers as well as patients. The Cancer Cabinet is working to help lower the costs of prescription drugs for cancer patients.

The National Cancer Institute will launch the Vanguard Study on multicancer detection, which is a huge part of the Cancer Moonshot. It is a trial that will launch nationally that will identify effective blood tests for the detection for cancers and provide tools that are less invasive. Enrollment for the study begins in 2024, according to the White House, and 225,000 people will be able to enroll.

Biden shared that cancer is a personal issue for him after losing his son Beau in 2015 to brain cancer. After he died, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, dedicating $1.8 billion over seven years to cancer research. President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2016, according to the AP. Biden went on to help direct the cancer funds when he was vice president.

There was no immediate response from Republican officials.

More information can be found on the White House website.



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